A helpline for victims of crime has had a 78% increase in calls relating to LGBTQ and racist hate crime.
The national Crime Victims Helpline (CVH) today launched its 2022 Annual Report by revealing an increase of 78% in contacts relating to LGBTQ Hate Crime and Racist Hate crime in 2022.
The report also found a notable increase in calls relating to cyber-crime such as the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (109 contacts in 2022 compared to just 29 in 2021) and online fraud (172 contacts in 2022 compared to just 86 contacts in 2021).
CVH recorded 5,828 contacts with service users in 2022, representing a 17.3% increase compared to 2021 which reflects the high demand for CVH services in Ireland.
CVH heard from victims of over 27 different types of crime, including burglary, theft, extortion, arson and stalking.
Similar to previous years, assault and harassment were the main types of crime that CVH was contacted about in 2022, however these crimes formed a higher percentage of overall contacts compared to 2021.
Contacts about domestic abuse-related crimes also saw an increase of 7% compared to figures in 2021.
Michele Puckhaber, Chief Executive, stated that “Once again demand for our services increased significantly in 2022 with 17.3% more contacts from those requiring support and assistance as a victim of crime. With online life becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society it comes as no surprise to see this notable increase in contacts relating to cyber-crime in 2022.”
Staff and volunteers of the Crime Victims Helpline provide emotional support, information about the criminal justice system, crime victims’ rights and compensation, and sign post the service user to additional supports that can help. In 2022, CVH made over 3,000 referrals to over 74 different organisations, supports and resources which illustrates the wide-ranging and diverse needs of those affected by crime.
Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, remarked, “I welcome the 2022 Annual Report by Crime Victims Helpline and want to thank Michele Puckhaber, CEO and her team of staff and volunteers for the incredible work that they do. From knowing the team and the work that they do, I know that every single person who made contact with them were met with compassion, respect and were listened to when they reached out for help.
The report shows a 275% increase in calls relating to non-consensual sharing of intimate images compared to the previous year.
“In late 2021, my Department launched an awareness campaign to highlight that such action was now a crime under Coco’s Law – the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act – which I commenced earlier that year.
“At least now, people who are subjected to this vile act are able to recognize it as a crime and find the support they need. The Crime Victims Helpline plays a vital role in supporting victims of crime and is an important partner to The Department of Justice. I look forward to continuing to work with Michele and her team in the year ahead.”